Mike Wells: Are you eligible for Social Security disability? Get ready to wait. | Local

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Factors taken into account are age, education, relevant past work experience, years of work and salary received.

There are a number of disabilities that allow you to receive benefits. Some examples, and this is a non-exclusive list, are: breathing problems, chronic heart disease, obesity, mental disorders, blindness or deafness, rheumatoid arthritis, seizures despite taking medication, cancer, immune system disorders, extreme psoriasis with hands and feet, multiple Sclerosis, HIV positive and other serious illnesses.

How does the application for disability pension work?

First application (1st stage). This can be done over the phone by contacting the Social Security Authority (www.ssa.gov). It will take about three months to hear from the SSA. A significant number of claims are initially denied.

Rethinking (2nd level). This is an appeal against the initial rejection and involves completing a form provided by the SSA. This will take a few more months. Many claims are also rejected at this level.

Hearings (3rd level). This is often the most important phase. The hearings will be conducted by federal administrative law judges in Greensboro, Raleigh and Charlotte. Medical evidence along with letters from doctors are essential for a favorable outcome.

An administrative judge will evaluate your case based on the medical evidence you provide and determine whether you are “disabled” under the law. It’s a five step process.


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